Blind Troubleshooting Stream
At exactly 4:00 PM on Thursday, Tommie's stream goes live. It's accessible through her channel on ContentHub, where she regularly streams and posts videos. Her content focuses mainly on reviews and tutorials for technology relating to robots and cyborgs, but often includes more casual videos.
The bright, metallic, blue borders of the screen contain the typical information (donations, subscriptions, sponsor company symbols, etc). Hanging on the left side of the screen is a set of labeled bars, displaying Tommie's current system status through each metric. All are currently green and less than half full. As for the actual image, a young robotic woman sits comfortably in an office chair set against her blurry workshop background. Her short, parted, maroon hair catches the light in a way that makes it shine, contrasting against the black layer underneath. The cobalt blue irises of her optical sensors complement her hair and match the stream overlay. In fact, her eye color changes along with the stream border color to signify changes in her system activity. Her peachy synthetic skin is perfectly smooth, shiny, and soft to the touch, though it only occupies her head and chest plate. Tommie's neck is composed of shiny silver and matte gray segments that shift to accommodate movement. From the bottom of her would-be ribcage down to her hips follows the same design idea. The parts themselves don't make an audible sound in motion, but they certainly don't dampen the pleasant mechanical noises from the components within. Her arms and legs are much more audible, by choice. The combination of colors form curved shapes, creating a heavily robotic 'sleek spaceship' look. Each major joint is fully exposed, giving a glimpse of her inner locomotive workings. Even her fingers are segmented, a design that aids in precision of fine motor control rather than focusing on human realism.
Today, Tommie wears a loose-fitting dark button-up shirt with pink cloud decals and images of gen 1 ghost type Pokemon. It's unbuttoned, showing some of her simple black bra hugging her chestplate. With the sexual liberation movement gaining ground daily, no one would bat an eye at Tommie's attire, even if she stripped down further. For bottoms, she wears black booty shorts. While Tommie enjoys showing off her body, it's more for the technical and aesthetic angle rather than sexual. Plus, the minimal fabric means greater range of movement without getting caught up in the gaps of her hip joints. A skirt didn't match the shirt anyways.
She smiles into the webcam mounted above her monitor setup. She sent out a notification as the stream started and it's traditional to wait a few minutes for people to join before the main event. In the meantime, she usually casually chats and fields chat questions.
"What did I find today?" She asks it rhetorically, filling in the viewers as to which question she's addressing. The viewers can see a humanoid figure laying flat on the table in the background, though heavily unfocused. Tommie pulls her slender metal fingers up and crosses them at the tips in front of her face. Combined with a wicked smile, she speaks in a joking, malicious tone. "You'll just have to wait and see! ... I found something absolutely perfect for this stream idea I've had for a while."
"Hello Tommie, I finally have some free time and I want to get into streaming games. I'll be running the games off a PC but I wanted to know if I could host the stream off my own system? Is that what you do? Thanks!" She switches from the exaggerated intonation of reading the comment to her casual way of talking. "It depends on a few things. I do run the stream off my own system but I've also heavily modded myself with that specific goal in mind. If you're rockin' a newer model and just want to stream the monitor screen it should be fine!" She leans forward, typing something into the keyboard while focusing on the monitor. "There's this new, cheaper stream deck I've seen making the rounds. Should just be plug-and-play and lets you get a little more complex. I'm ordering one now and I'll do a review as soon as it's in. Thanks for the question!"
Tommie stands up from her chair quickly, patting her thighs before saying, "Welp! I think it's time to start this thing!" Her energy rises, taking on a showman's aura for the introduction. She walks to the work area behind her. It's got several shelves with random computer components and robot pieces, along with cabinets and racks of random items. In the center of it all, is a plastic-topped wooden table the size of a hospital bed. On top, lies a thin feminine figure, not far off from Tommie's own. Tommie sets the active camera to a side-view so that she's center frame with the gynoid on the table a bit lower. She's able to do this thanks to a hardware setup of her own design, nestled between the numerous cables and drives in her abdomen. The software concoction counterpart allows her to edit the overlay, cut to different angles, read chat, or adjust lighting within simple digital channels.
The new view allows the audience to see more of the subject of today's examination. Her pale ivory skin is incredibly shiny and clearly plastic. She has a bushy mane of blonde hair which partially obscures her face. She wears a skimpy french maid-themed lingerie set. She lies flat at attention, glassy eyes staring at the ceiling.
"Welcome everyone! I know this was announced last minute but I want to thank you all for joining!" She throws her arms out to the sides before bringing them in to rest them on the table. "If you're new here, my name is Tommie and I do tech related videos and streams! If you like all things robot, cyborg, or just plain automatic, feel free to stick around and maybe subscribe! I've got a special stream planned today, one that I've been wanting to do for a bit. As you may know, I'm friends with a local pawnshop owner since I help out with the more complicated repairs. I just got a call yesterday from him that he's got a bot I might be interested in. So everybody thank Pete!" She flashes a cartoon graphic of a stout man with a bushy white beard and grease-stained denim overalls giving a thumbs up in the corner of the screen.
"Alright, so a lot of people were asking to see a full progress video of me repairing a machine. So here it is! I asked Pete not to tell me anything so all I know is that she's broken and needs fixing. Otherwise? We're flying blind. So without further ado, everyone welcome Sheri!" The camera cuts to an overhead view perfectly aligned with the edges of the table. Tommie displays her open palms as if she just finished dealing playing cards. The early-twenties woman on the table is completely lifeless, though looks peaceful in her shutdown state. The most striking detail is her overall curves. They flow perfectly into the next section of her body, giving an inherent gracefulness. Her pink lips lay resting in a half-smile.
"Before we begin, always wear anti-static gloves! Or if you've got metal hands, make sure you don't build up static electricity! I've got a few videos that could help." The links pop up in little cards on the side of the screen.
"Ok! Long-time viewers already know I'm a huge fan of these Sheri types. They're one of the greatest VSUs [Versatile Service Unit] on the markets currently. And ever! They have really robust AIs that allow them to fit several service rules or be sold as consumer models. They've got great order customization and aftermarket modability too. Plus they're insanely underpriced!" She places a metallic finger just under the text on Sheri's collarbone. "This one's a V3, so fairly recent. I can't tell what she's configured with off the bat. She's got the blonde hairplate from the Beach Bikini Package but also the maid lingerie from the maid add-on for companion units. Oh well, we'll discover together!"
"Always start with a visual inspection. We do overall first, then micro next." She makes a show of scanning each section of the body with her gaze. "No visible damage. Easy enough. Nothing that requires me to take a closer look. So! We're dealing with something internal here."
"Alright, time to attempt to power her on! I will say, sometimes it's not a good idea to try booting a damaged machine, but in most cases like that there would be external damage." Tommie reaches behind Sheri's left ear and clicks the power toggle. Nothing.
"So she doesn't boot... My first reaction is that her battery's out since there was zero response." Tommie reaches towards Sheri's chest, hooking a nail under the small rectangular section of plastic and popping it open to swing to the side. In its place is a small status screen and a few ports. Tommie reaches overhead to an extendable power cable, pulling it down and holding it.
"Before I give it power I look for any signs of soot or maybe a bent connector. It all looks good! Oh and by the way, all Sheri's have the same access points and panels, even between versions." She plugs the thick power cable into the largest port. A secondary overhead camera zooms in to the panel, appearing as a picture-in-picture for the stream. A solid red indicator lights up next to the port.
"Hmm. That could mean a few things... the major part is that the power cells aren't working right. They could just need changing. I know some burn out a little quicker if the machine is under heavy use. It's a super easy fix, if that's what it is. Let's try the power again." She reaches behind Sheri's ear once again. As soon as she flicks the power toggle an aggressive beep sounds out from Sheri's chest before nothing, once again.
"Oh no. That's not good... This means even the bios either can't load or refuses to for safety reasons. Sheris can run off tethered power without even touching the batteries so there's gotta be something else going on. One thing I like to do in situations like this is remove all other variables." Tommie places a hand on Sherie's bicep and another gripping the shoulder while pressing a small indent. Tommie twists the limb out of place with a click, disconnecting it three-quarters of the way up from the elbow. She places it carefully on the workbench a few feet away. She does the same for the other arm.
"I have seen Techtonix's new line," Tommie begins, answering a chat message during the verbal downtime. "I'm happy with their chassis I went with but I've definitely been visiting the add-ons page a lot." She punctuates the statement with a quick laugh. She performs the same procedure on Sherie's legs as well, leaving only the top quarter of each thigh attached. With each limb, she checks the chrome connection points, finding no signs of damage.
"Alright, so I'm going to remove the abdomen/hips as well, leaving just the thorax. And if you're wondering why, it's because Sheri's have their cores in their chest and their AI drives in their head. A lot of modern bots run on the dual-system architecture, but Sheri's are more one-point-five. The core contains a combined OS and personality software that runs the AI based on the configuration on their swappable AI drives. It's pretty cool actually!" She taps the seams of a rounded rectangle on Sheri's forehead.
"Sheris have an interesting design for removing the lower half. You have to remove the abdominal panel first. And since her batteries, secondary systems, and motor controller are all in there, I suspect we'll get some major pieces to this puzzle." Tommie presses indentations at the top and bottom of the panel which follows the human-natural inverted semi-circle of the ribs down to the corresponding curve of the hips. It clicks out of place, now removable. Tommie places it with the limbs.
"WOW OK." Her eyes light up with intrigue. "We definitely found the source of the problem. See these here?" She points to two large canisters mounted at the top of the panel. "See this corrosion and soot?" She uses her fingertip to get a sample and changes the pip to a zoomed-in feed from her own optical sensor. "Definitely fried. And look." She points to a few pink circuit boards, finding a similar substance. "It definitely spread." She examines the rest of the cavity, keeping her vision streamed to highlight where she looks.
Finally, the audience gets the full view again. "This is most likely a case of overheating though, and a great example of why you should make sure your shell has proper airflow! As well as cleaning it out at least once a month! We've got a couple of blown batteries which shorted other components leading to at least a small fire exacerbated by the dust. Batteries can blow like this but both going nuclear probably means they're a symptom rather than a cause. I could see the other components burning out first but they seem more resultant. Maybe a faulty power supply? Could be a software issue with improper system limits too. Either way, it should be safe to resume and probably for the best we remove this section."
"Sheris can run on tethered power alone but make sure you plug a machine in before removing its batteries. If you can, shutting it down first is safer." Tommie clicks two switches flanking Sheri's batteries before reaching to her sides. The click is much heavier this time and is followed by a few more. There's no clean disconnection point like the limbs. Reattaching it will require several wires and components to be reconnected. "Yeah FlamingMongoose, I like the Techtonix RF chassis/shell combo because it allows for seamless hot-swapping. I'd really recommend it if you plan on reconfiguring yourself at all."
She claps her hands together. "Ok! It's unfortunate for this Sheri but I'm glad we got a great example for today. She'll need to be completely rewired in that section at least. I can do that on stream and post it as a timelapse after. But for now, we found some symptoms, which is a great start. We need to find the cause though. And to do that, we need to open her up further."
Tommie slides her hand under Sheri to unclasp the embroidered white bra. Tommie pulls it off, tossing it to the side and revealing two moderately-sized, pert breasts topped with nipples matching the color of Sherri's lips. Tommie presses a switch on Sheri's control panel, reaching for the sides after. With a now familiar click, Sheri's entire front half of what's left of her body from the collar down, including her breasts, comes off like a car door panel and is set aside. The internals are similar to the abdominal section, though with far more circuit boards densely packed around a central plastic core.
"Oh yeah, it spread here too." She trails her finger along some melted wire coating and to a few burned capacitors. "Looks like not the worst outcome though. I'd say some of the safety features still triggered." She flicks open the plastic cube in the center, revealing a CPU akin to a standard PC, only twice the size. She holds it carefully by her fingertips at opposite corners. The shiny metal face is untouched. She flips it over and zooms in once again. "CPU still intact, it's a great sign that half the cost of a Sheri is still intact!" She slots it back in.
"I think we're ready to try a force-boot." She reaches above her head to another cable, this time data. She plugs it in directly to the core. "Now I won't be able to do it from the chest panel since it's an admin command, essentially. Since her ownership was legally transferred to Pete and I am acting as a registered technician, I can use a licensed cracking program to break into her system and force-boot it that way. Absolutely do not try this at home. Technician laws vary from area to area so make sure you read your local laws for information as to when you can legally download a cracking program and what situations you can use the program in after you get a license."
Tommie pulls out a touch screen panel on an extendable arm from the side of the room. She cuts to a side view while doing so. She taps a few commands on it, leading to a beep from Sheri's chest yet again. This time, however, Sheri's eyes light up tea green and the fans in her chest spin up. Tommie quietly reviews the readouts on the screen. "Sheri's always announce their boot sequence, even if heavily errored. Hm..." Tommie focuses on the screen, changing the pip to stream the screen. The menu itself is already glitchy, with several sections grayed out. "No maintenance options..." Tommie clicks a few more sections, trying for an error or event log to no avail. "Well. Hmph." She crosses her arms, taking a moment to think.
"I think this could take a while so I'm going to take a shortcut. This is heavily inadvisable but I've got updated security. I'll directly connect to see if I can manually sift through her systems and maybe get an event log to load." She grabs a data cable from the shelves. "I'll save a system image too so I can do a more in-depth tutorial for the advanced techs out there." A small section of plastic immediately slides inward and down from Tommie's chest. Her own panel contains a variety of ports.
"Here we go!" She plugs the cord into her chest and the other end into Sheri's. Tommie freezes during the handshake. Her own voice announces the events, rather than the standard monotone robotic from most machines, even if a bit stilted.
"External Device Connected.
Administrative Permission Granted.
Enabilizing Data Link...
She rapidly blinks, smiling after to show the less technologically-inclined viewers that she's perfectly okay. "Yeah, her systems are all tangled up. Looks like it even got to her AI too." Despite speaking, her body remains frozen to focus greater processing power on the digital examination. "Geez, something really got her good. It had to be a faulty core component or something." The screen rapidly loads new pages as it attempts to translate Tommie's quick digital hands.
"Wait." She suddenly stops, cocking her head to the side in confusion. "What is th-" her voice is immediately cut off by her own stilted announcement.
"Permission Granted to External Device.
"This shouldn't be -" Her neck twitches once, causing her head to jerk 15 degrees to the side before returning.
What?! You can't just force a download on -"
Her head jerks again.
It wo-won't stop!"
Her head jerks again. She looks confused.
"Are you sure you want to stop this process?
Error: Unable to Stop Process.
Her head jerks again. She looks confused.
"Error: Unable to -"
Her face jerks again. She looks confused.
"Package Transfer Complete.
Running 'Conflagration' Program Package..."
Every inch of Tommie's system is immediately blasted with chaotic, randomized digital noise in the form of faulty commands, sensory input, and intense calculations pertaining to each subsystem. Her digital mind can't keep up.
"Error – Emotive Faculties Compromised."
Neither can her facial emotive features, causing one eye to remain staring straight while the other intensely rolls up. Her jaw goes slack, letting her tongue flop out. As the least of her worries, her face attempts to automatically return to normal, twitching unnaturally instead. It no longer moves according to her speech either.
"C-c-can't -t can't – Error – Malicious Programs Detected.
Attempting to Quarantine..."
Wh-wha- Error – Motor Control Compromised."
Tommie reaches for her chest to unplug the cord. She finds herself unable, lacking in system resources to dedicate to the fine motor control required to simply grip and pull the cord. She quickly loses control of even lifting the arm to her chest, finding both arms hanging slack with only mechanical twitches making them move.
"Error – Quarantine Failed.
Attempting – Error
Warning – Overheat Imminent"
Tommie's irises turn fire engine red.
Her struggling mind realizes her legs are failing as well. She turns to walk to the bench by the wall, hobling the few feet and barely able to plop down on it before her legs equally limp. Her body rests against the wall, slipping to one side.
"Warning – Heat Levels Exceeding Safe Levels.
If I-I-I-I," a loud pop sounds from her chest, "could-could just – wha-what-what?"
Her voice distorts, sounding more metallic than usual.
"Error – AI Emulation Compromised."
The virus advances from controlling her body to piercing her digital brain. Her already-clouded consciousness fractures as the virus causes an intense electrical seizure. Thought channels and system processes cross, completely removing any functionality still left. Even the event log would read as nonsensical garble as Tommie's systems fry.
A final loud popping sound causes Tommie's head to violently look upwards before falling back to lean against the wall. Her facial mechanisms all loosen, returning to a neutral expression with her lips slightly parted. One eye still remains rolled, the other lazily crosses. Gray smoke plumes from her ears and is the only motion on the stream for the next six hours.